On Ottering

Otter

I love otters. And yes, I realize their furry baby sweet-eyed adorableness is likely a deceptive genetic manuever, as it is in kitties, covering up a violent streak of vicious selfishness (anthropomorphism alert!). I understand that in videos when otters appear to be holding hands and drifting in a pool of contentment, their behavior likely isn’t motivated by a desire to feel emotionally close and bonded to anotter otter, but some survival mechanism. This is in contrast to humans, who never do that kinda shit.

“Otters are the kittens of the sea.” ~ Devenderly

OK, so I don’t care if they’re mean little beasts. I love otters. I love the word otter, which I often use in place of “other” because CUTENESS. The main problem with the word otter, despite its adaptability, is its low Scrabble point value. Kitty is pretty decent, depending on location, and even kitten can do some damage. Of course kittens is great because bingo, if you pluralize an existing word, or wev. But otter? Not so much.

Yesterday, just for kicks, I tried the word ottering, which was promptly rejected by the Scrabble PTB. They took yolky on one of my previous turns that day, which I’m still chuckling over. YOLKY! It’s apparently a legit adjective though. However, while ottering isn’t listed in the standard dicos, it is in the Urban Dictionary:

Initially appears to be an activity without purpose; after closer examination, it is a mundane task or job done with playful enjoyment.

Jimmy’s wadding up his dirty clothes, ‘shooting hoops’ into the laundry basket.

Jimmy’s mom: “Will you stop ottering and bring me that hamper! I need to get the laundry done!”

But alas…

Ottering

This poast is a perfect example of ottering. It seems pretty pointless, but it is in fact a very clever way of spending time before work doing something I enjoy (writing) without having to actually work on any of my “real writing,” since I’m bored to tears with romance and erotica, and my murder mystery is a scrambled mess. Plus, my sales have flatlined, thus destroying any possible motivational impulses. I can always channel those into a pome about an avocado anyway. The great thing about pomes is they’re way shorter than stories and you can feel a sense of accomplishment by actually finishing them in a reasonable length of time.

Christ, I just remembered I have two scrambled mess murder mysteries started in various folders. Gah.

Four Rings

The first ring I wore on my ring finger was a diamond that had been my paternal grandmother’s. It was in an old-fashioned white gold setting and I changed it to a custom 14K gold swirl design. Just a solitare, no baguettes or other riffraff. The diamond stood alone. I wore it on my right hand until I used it as a wedding ring during my first marriage. It was always a little loose because I’d had it made for my right hand, and my left fingers are a half-size smaller. Many years later, after I had stopped wearing it as a wedding ring because divorce/remarriage/etc., this ring was stolen by a cleaning lady. We took the cleaning company to court for lying in their customer agreement about vetting their employees, and we won a judgment for $1800. I didn’t buy another ring with that money though.

*

The second ring I wore on my ring finger was a thick gold wedding band for my second marriage. My ex-husband had a matching band. A few years in, I panicked because I thought I’d lost mine, but it turned up in the pocket of my jeans. It was always a little loose. The ex actually did lose his one day a few  years later, or so he said. He never wanted another one. Eventually I stopped wearing mine. I sold it after we separated a final time. The price of gold was very high at that point, luckily for me. I don’t keep track of it these days.

*

My ex and I got back together, albeit temporarily for seven more years. We went shopping for a new ring and he bought me a beautiful diamond eternity band at Black Starr & Frost, one of the jewelry stores Marilyn Monroe mentions in her funny song “Diamonds Are a Girl’s Best Friend.” The setting was platinum, extra super-duper foreverness symbolization. Except that didn’t happen and we split up anyway. I sold this ring with the second ring and other jewelry. Later I wrote a pome about it, which appears in my book Going Dark (link on the right)…

Habit

At some point
Fairly recently
I stopped sliding my thumb
Across my palm
Around my finger base
To trace that naked space
Where your ring had been.
There is nothing missing
All is as it should be.
New men have touched me
New mouths, new tongues
New emotions blossom
In the garden of my soul.
Except for that one place
Where nothing grows
And nothing shows but dust
And ash.

Except there, my love
The dead zone.

*

For almost seven years I haven’t worn a ring on my left ring finger. But this week I ordered one for myself from Amazon. It’s a sterling silver snake, size 4.5. Part of the reason I chose this particular ring is because it’s hard to find sizes under 5 online. [You realize at this point I am totally obsessing over the fact that I spelled out “seven” twice, but am putting numerals for sizes. It seems like the right thing to do, in both cases, but it bothers me.] Also part of the reason I chose this ring is because snakes have played a small part in my life from time to time, a leitmotif, as it were. I have a short story about a boa constrictor in Going Dark. True story, more or less. That incident was supposed to have been in my masterpiece Motion Sickness, but I’ve given up on masterpieces now and just write pomes and short pieces, barely.

My fourth ring fits perfectly, looks cool, and  is super-shiny. I am pleased. It’s also symbolic of my pile of failed past relationships and how I’m doing much better alone, mostly. Because silver tarnishes and changes, it isn’t considered “eternal” like platinum and gold, but it still lasts forever, just differently.

I took the photo on top of this poast ~ how metacool is that?

Snake ring

A LOAd of Poop

I love Mark Manson. He has the most perfect piece here taking down the law of attraction (from the book The Secret), which I refuse to cap because it’s so stupid. My friend Looners noted that the LOA is simply another way to blame the victim: if your life sucks, it’s obviously because you weren’t thinking about the right things, ya big dummy.

That said, sometimes a victim is at partial fault for his shitty circumstances. I do tend to believe that we can control our moods somewhat. Not saying that this will lead to untold riches, but it could lead to a greater contentment with what we do have. Take my parents (please): one was miserable whether they were rich or poor, living in the arctic wilds of Chicago or the sunny warmth of SoCal; the other would shrug and find a way to be happy whether he had a $50 steak or a $5 burger. Some of that is genetic, but some we can control. You can stop whining and complaining, feeding your own negative thought spiral, and figure out how to do something fun, wherever you are and with whatever budget.

However… it’s hard to be happy when you don’t even have the $5 burger. There are limits to this positive thinking woowooery. At that point, you need to get off your ass, quit staring at your navel, and accomplish something.

If you don’t, then maybe your shitty circumstances are somewhat your own fault, but it’s not because you failed to visualize gold and rubies and yachts and a super awesome pair of turquoise leather boots (non-cowboy style). Mark says that the LOA is an elaborate confirmation bias stunt, wherein you force yourself to notice only those things that conform to the beliefs you’ve set up a priori.

Essentially, The Secret tells you to become delusionally positive about yourself for a long enough period of time that your natural confirmation bias kicks in and you only attend to the things in your life that match these new beliefs. ~ Mark Manson

But wait! Why is this a bad thing?

The Secret actually requires that you never doubt yourself, never consider negative repercussions, and never indulge in negative thoughts.5 This is the confirmation bias on steroids and it can be dangerous: taking on risky business ventures or investments, ignoring red flag behaviors from a romantic partner, denying personal problems or health issues, avoiding necessary confrontations, failing to weigh the possibility of failure in decision making, and so on. While this sort of “delusionally positive” thinking may make one feel better in some (or even many) situations, as a long-term life strategy, it is utterly disastrous. ~ Mark Manson

There ya go then. If we want that kind of delusionism, there’s always religion. Plus, as Mark mentions later in his essay, trying to suppress thoughts often causes us to become more obsessed with their content, not less, and engaging in delusional positive thinking can result in complacency and laziness. Why do anything after all when you can simply think about it?

But the worst thing about using the LOA is the selfishness and narcissism that it invariably generates as we remain immersed in a self-referential universe of our own thoughts and desires. My friend Josh summed it up perfectly:

In my experience, focusing on oneself and what I want is a fast track to UNhappiness. Self-indulgence and narcissistic pursuit of diversion leads to depression, not nirvana. ~ Joshua Loy

Well, unless you’re a kitteh…

Kitty lion

On Sex and Poetry

Here’s a weird thing that I may have discussed before, but I don’t recall because Alzheimers, so we will go through it again.

Me and my two commenters, that is. (Rude.)

When I began writing a suspense novel, no one asked me if I’d ever committed a murder or had one attempted on me. No one asked if there had been any murder incidences among close friends or family members. People assumed the story was fictional, which of course it was. (BWAHAHAHA fools.)

But when I write a romance/erotica story I invariably get someone going uh duh is that YOU? Are you writing from experience heh heh heh? Gah, so annoying. At least when I wrote the crazy dragon thing no one asked that. But why not? I don’t understand why no one asked if I’d had sex with a dragon or at least an alligator. Weirddd.

But I write a threesome and it’s all BAM… did you do that??? Like I have enough imagination to write about a freaking dragon but not two chicks getting it on with some dude. Nope nope. I must have been one of them.

And poetry… geez, give me a break. Poems can be totally fictional, hello! Mine mostly are, though I do sometimes eat avocados.

Mmm avocado…

It’s all lies and guacamole around here, my peeps. Trust me, I’m a liar.

SL&G

Not So Purrfect

OK, so in my continuing mission to read various sub-genres of romance novels, and blab about them to y’all, I recently finished an adult shape-shifter story. If you recall (and why wouldn’t you?), I previously reviewed a young adult dragon shifter story and to my surprise enjoyed it quite a bit.

Not so the case with Her Purrfect Match by Milly Taiden. Gawd, what a pile of dreckage. Where to begin?

1. Loads of errors. I realize that we can’t all afford an editing service, but geez it’s awfully distracting to have screw-ups throughout. (Plus Taiden is a very popular Amazon author, with 363 reviews on HPM alone, so you would think… )

2. No attempt at explaining how the tiger-peeps came to exist or how they shape-shift, what it feels like to the shifter, how an observer experiences it, etc. In the dragon story, I felt the wings stretching under the skin and the emotional conflict associated with shifting. Here? Nothing. Just bam, he’s a tiger now.

3. There was nothing “tigery” or even weird about the guy when human. He was simply an Alpha male who liked a lot of hot sex in the usual ways. So, why bother with tigerness at all?

4. Author uses tigerness as a lame excuse for the usual noncommittal sex men like to engage in, with the only twist that Tigerman needs to reproduce because enemies, or whatever thing. Again, there is no reason for him to be part tiger. He is just an ordinary jerk, until of course he is REFORMED BY LURVE.

5. The heroine is annoyingly insecure about her “curves” and also super-dumb in much of the book. Forex, she doesn’t catch on that she actually stumbled onto the man she’d been shifter-matched up with even after he keeps giving tiger cues. I wanted to smack her. Duh! It’s him! The guy! TIGER DUDE.Ugh.

So, while I am a tiny bit curious about the heroine’s friend who gets matched with two wolf-shifters, I think I’ll pass.

(TWO WOLVES! Polywolfism. Is that a thing?)

Tiger snadwich

Avocado Aubade

The sky barely pinkened
When you left for your meeting
And I stood in the kitchen
Of a house that was not mine.

The teapot sang good morning,
The fridge hummed a timeworn line,
A bird cried out shrill warning,
And your car rumbled down the drive.

My toes curled on old cold tile
As a draft pushed under the door;
I plucked an avo from the fruit bowl
And took a knife out of the drawer.

Now there may be another dawn
When blood drips down your counter
And the scent of madness lingers on,
But I will have long left this mountain.

Carousel

A summer fair
Skin against skin
Rigged games never win
Sticky hands at dusk
Popcorn and popsicles
Candy apple lust
Ponies going up ponies going down
Stardust wheel spins round and round

Funhouse mirror dream distorted
What you want baby I want now
Purple twilight lemonade
Shadows bend a promise fades
Ponies rocking round and round
Stardust wheel coming down

A fair summer one and gone
Winter bleached to the bone

Erratic Erotica

My motivation follows the zigzags.

KDP report

 

 

Novelist Fail

This is an interesting piece about someone who tried really hard to market a romance novel and totally failed. We hear so much about the successes (such as the one mentioned in the article), which I am not always sure are 100% true. Like did someone really make a fortune writing about dino sex? Super hard to believe. Regardless, the pieces on supposedly astronomical sales of some crazy thing are published regularly because people like to read them. Some of us get inspired by them.

But it’s also true that misery loves company, so when I read Jowita’s account of how she had a completed RN, maybe not perfectly following the formula but close enough, designed a cover, promoted herself on Twitter, etc., and sold only $8 worth of books… I felt better. After all, I don’t nearly promote my writing as much as Jowita did and I’ve made a lot more than that.

Still, $30/month is hardly worth spending a gazillion more hours writing my RN’s in progress. I kinda like the idea that I could just stop now and do something else. OTOH, I may finish anything I’ve started because OCD.

In the eternal battle between the impetus to inertia and the compulsion to line up All The Things, the smart money is on… ?

Analyzing 13

Originally posted on left handed dragon:

It has been brought to my attention that today is Friday the 13th. And many people consider it to be an unlucky day. But why is 13 considered to be unlucky? And what is the deal with Friday?

Let’s first take a look at the number 13. But one cannot talk about the number 13 without talking about the number 12.

Twelve is a number that has special meaning for the Ancient Greeks, Romans, Egyptians, and Hebrews. In many cases, the stories intertwine and morph, and it is difficult to determine the origin of a story or myth. The sphynx, for example, is common to both Egyptians and Greek mythology (read Oedipus). Just so you know studying mythology is not an exact science.

We have the 12 Apostles.

From the Bible;

“SIMON (PETER), and ANDREW his brother; JAMES the son of Zebedee, and JOHN his brother; PHILIP and BARTHOLOMEW; THOMAS…

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